Mineral Wells Area News

Turkey Peak Reservoir Cost Projections Total $170 Million, Construction in 2025

Photos By Amy Bearden

Turkey Peak Reservoir Cost Projections Total $170 Million, Construction in 2025
August 30
08:47 2022

By David Montgomery/Special Contributor

“When you’re talking about $170 million total… I think funding is the main concern. How does this affect somebody living on the southeast part of town when they get their water bill?”

Brian Shoemaker-MW City Councilman
A handful of citizens took advantage of the public comment opportunity to voice concerns about Turkey Peak Reservoir

The leaders from the City of Mineral Wells and the County’s Municipal Water District recently met in a packed meeting room of Link Field Services to discuss for the first time in four years the updates for the Turkey Peak Reservoir.

Citizens began the meeting voicing their concerns regarding plans for easements, fences, and general lack of progress of the project. Overall, just a handful of people asked to make comments.

“That’s just not the way Texas should be,” said concerned Palo Pinto resident Janice Moore, speaking to the joint boards regarding planned water restrictions for cattle. The proposed plan looks to add miles of fencing that could make it difficult for animals to reach their water source. Moore also voiced concern that water board meetings were inaccessible to most people.

“Why are you having meetings at times when people cannot attend,” she asked.

After the public comment period, presenters began to update the room on the project.

The Water District updated the MW City Council on their preliminary budget plans for the 2022-2023 fiscal year which include appropriating $1.6 million from surplus for projects as needed, cost of living increases, identifying a project manager, and setting an operating budget that is consistent with previous years.

Of those changes which will affect the city of Mineral Wells is an increase of $274,000 from the previous year, a $22,800 per month increase. This change will help fund salaries for the water district employees and to identify a project manager to represent the water district for the Turkey Peak Project and to be a liaison between the water district and the city.

Councilwoman Beth Watson called the project manager position “a great addition”.

MW City Council listen to projected costs of Turkey Peak Reservoir

Cory Shockley of HDR Engineering lead the presentation to the joined councils that gave the progress of the project. Many of the updates included items ranging from design progress to land acquisitions.

With just 40-percent of the land needed for the reservoir already acquired, the remaining land looks to be on track to be finalized sometime next year. One of those parcels required to complete land acquisition will be going to trial in an eminent domain case, according to Shockley.

“The biggest question really is that funding piece,” said Shockley, addressing the boards. “Our schedule assumes from now through 2024 we’ll have a financing plan and we’ll be ready to go to construction in 2025.”

The funding needed is $170 million to build the dam and construct roadways and bridges, according to Shockley’s presentation.

The situation the national economy is facing has not helped the budget. COVID, supply chain issues, and inflation are all factors mentioned to influence the total cost. While many options were mentioned for possible funding sources, the bulk of the cost seemed left upon the councils to figure out.

“When you’re talking about $170 million total… I think funding is the main concern,” said Councilman Brian Shoemaker. “How does this affect somebody living on the southeast part of town when they get their water bill?”

“We get that question a lot,” said Shockley. “That’s the question for your rate consultant.”

Municipal Water Board Members listen to Cory Schockley give updates on Turkey Peak Reservoir

The opportunities for funding laid out by Shockley included multiple grants, state funding, and new water customers.

“Somebody mentioned that this has been a rumor for so long and it reminded me that the first time this project was identified in a project study was 1979,” Shockley said. “So this has been around a long time and it’s closer than it’s ever been.”

All of the questions for the project manager came from the Mineral Wells City Council side of the room. The urgency of the project is heightened by the current drought conditions. Currently, Lake Palo Pinto sits sixty-five percent below capacity.

Turkey Peak Reservoir, once complete, will have an eighty-three percent capacity increase over the current lake allowing the water district to meet future demand.

Dr. David Turk, president of the water district board, urged citizens to continue to submit questions, concerns and comments to Turkey Peak Reservoir Site.

The two boards are planning to meet again in early November to continue the conversations pertaining to the project, but a date has not been set yet.

About the Author: David Montgomery is a Mineral Wells resident passionate about local politics. He wants to see transparency in government and foster community involvement. Married for over 12 years with 3 children, David works full time at a church where he leads a team of volunteers in utilizing technology to spread the gospel. His hobbies include craft coffee and BBQ.

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